Over 16,000 evacuated in 22 days as SSD backwaters rise in MP

Indore, Aug 28 Over 16,000 people have been evacuated from Dhar and Barwani districts of Madhya Pradesh in the last 22 days following a rise in the backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) on the Narmada, an official said on Wednesday.

Following heavy rains and release of water from upstream dams on the Narmada river and its tributaries, the SSD backwaters are rising, said an official of the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA).

On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the water level of the SSD, located in his home state of Gujarat, has touched a “historic” 134 metres.

The backwater level at Rajghat village in Barwani had reached 133.85 meters, 10.57 meters above the danger mark, the NVDA official told .

Rajghat is located on the border of Barwani and Dhar.

“We have relocated about 1,500 people from 360 families to safer places in past 22 days, evacuating houses and shops from Rajghat, Chhota Badda and other places located in the submergence area,” said Barwani district collector Amit Tomar.

Twenty-three families were still living in higher areas of Rajghat village which has now become an island, he said.

Officials were trying to persuade them to shift to safer places, Tomar added.

B S Kalesh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dhar, said in the last 22 days,about 15,000 people or 3,261 families from 21 villages were shifted to safer places.

As many as 1,338 families were still living in the submergence area in Dhar district and their evacuation was in progress, he said.

The state government had already prepared permanent rehabilitation sites and temporary tin sheds for the displaced families in both the districts, officials said.

Vehicles are being provided to the villagers to transport their belongings, they added.

Meanwhile, the Narmada Bachao Andolan led by activist Medha Patkar continued its protest against the Centre and the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat at Chhota Badda.

The SSD is being filled up to its full capacity of 138.68 meters, but the thousands of people who were displaced due to the dam in Madhya Pradesh were neither properly rehabilitated nor compensated, the NBA has alleged.